On the eve of Thanksgiving Day 2017, one of our greatest challenges is not to get swallowed by all the ugliness surrounding us. Everywhere you look, there’s cause to shake your head and wonder: “What’s the world coming to?”
And you don’t have to look far to see a specific group of unhappy people—the perpetual pouters. Their view is always clouded by negativity. Wayne Ates would say these folks had been “weaned on a dill pickle.” The dill-pickle crowd refuses to acknowledge the goodness which overshadows the badness. Instead, they would rather poke their lips out from Cherry Street to the traffic light in Ludowici.
While studying at Harvard, Kent Keith must have made that same observation. In 1968, he was inspired to write “Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments” as a part of a student-leader handbook. For 49 years later, the poem of Dr. Kent M. Keith is still making laps around the globe. One of its more famous stops was in Mother Teresa’s hands. The saintly woman was so impressed that she posted the message on the wall of her Calcutta children’s home.
If you are looking for an antidote to the ills which abound, consider these words:
Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments
By Dr. Kent M. Keith
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and
women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
Look around. Badness is trying its best to kick goodness in the teeth. Let’s not pout about the abundant deeds of dastardly evil-doers. Instead, let’s focus on the positive by seeing the multitudes of random acts of kindness.
Opinion is varied on who first said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Attribution is often given to British statesman Edmund Burke. Regardless of its author, another way to say it is: “As long as enough people care, there will always be hope for tomorrow.”
Thank you, Dr. Kent Keith, for reminding us of that.
Here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.